- Fri, November 19 2010
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Clay Shirky, author of the fantastic new book, Cognitive Surplus, gave some great advice to nonprofits when he generously hosted a free webinar today at Network for Good. If you missed it, you can listen here for free (registration required).
He outlined three challenges for us:
1. Activists are active but not everyone else is. We will never be able to convince people outside our office’s four walls to be as passionate as we are.
2. If we build it, they won’t come. Because of fact #1, we can’t expect millions to flood to our cause. We’re better off working with a small, passionate core of supporters and shining the spotlight on them, giving them voice, and letting them connect to each other.
3. Users can smell a fake opportunity a mile off. While we need to encourage participation and interaction among our passionate core, do it right. Fake interaction, fake engagement, and fake listening in an insultingly structured environment will backfire. Our old bargain was, I have a cause that you agree with, you give me money, I give you a newsletter and we call that membership. Actual participation is what’s called for, and that’s a different thing entirely.
Clay recommended we do the following:
Audit yourself from the point of view of the people with whom you want to engage. Ask yourself: what is the opportunity FOR THE PARTICIPANT? Yes, the people who support your cause have the chance to do social good. But how do you treat them? How can they be involved? How can you show the giver/donor some kind of other appreciation? How can you give them a better experience? Do you have a way to convene your supporters so they can talk to each other?
Definitely check out the call. Clay is a visionary on social media, and in my view, his observations are dead on.